Project leader: Issaquah Creek renovation almost complete… again
March 4, 2014
By Peter Clark
After nearly six months of delays, the Issaquah Creek dam replacement could be finished next month.
Originally slated to be done Sept. 15, the project to remove the 60-year-old dam and replace it with a sloping set of rock weirs experienced weather problems and some undefined setbacks.
State Fish and Wildlife Project Manager Tim Ward said the $3.1 million project is still within the established budget contingency. However, that could change before contractors finish the job.
“Essentially, the contractor incurred some extensions that we’re negotiating right now,” Ward said.
Because of those negotiations, he would not go into specifics. He did say the state’s discussion with the contractor, SNC-Lavalin, revolved around culpability, which could change the project’s bottom line.
“The contractor incurred some costs and we are trying to see whether we’re responsible for that or not,” Ward said, adding that if the state ended up being responsible, it would put the cost over the contingency budget.
He would not give exact details, but said he recognized the project’s six-month delay was well out of the ordinary. The project was originally supposed to take four months. It has now taken 10 months.
“Some decisions that were made proved to create problems, which was then exacerbated by the weather,” Ward said. “Once the contractor was in the high-water season, everything that happened set the contractor back. For every three steps forward, we took two steps back.”
He continued to express how well the relationship has remained between the state and the contractor.
“We’ve really enjoyed working with them,” he said.
Now, the work should be finished by the end of March.
“We’ve got another three weeks to a month left,” Ward said.
The crew blocked the creek in order to install a new intake for the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. Ward said they left the creek Dec. 6 and are currently in the process of cleaning up and ensuring lasting performance of the system.
“Part of the problem it took so long was we wanted to make sure it was done right,” he said.
The city has had a limited role in the project. It assisted in the feasibility and design of the weirs, but the state primarily led its construction.
City Surface Water Manager Kerry Ritland said the city has helped with the aftermath of the construction.
“The city’s been working with Mountains to Sound Greenway for the replanting phase,” he said. The project felled many trees along the creek bank, which have been replanted with saplings. “We’re just finishing. From the city’s perspective, we’re all done.”
Ritland said the city had to respond to the affect the work had on those living nearby.
“The main thing we had to work through was the impact to local residents,” Ritland said. “We heard noise complaints and had to inform the residents the contractors were in compliance. For the most part, the residents endured it.”